Today editor Andy Silvester on communication problems, the rugby world cup and a new worry for the insurance sector
This past Saturday, my AFC Wimbledon botched a two-nil lead against Crewe Alexandra, conceding a sloppy equaliser in the ninth minute of extra time. After the game, Wimbledon’s manager Johnnie Jackson said “we need to be better” in those crucial moments and bemoaned the (very apparent) lack of composure, shape and organisation that cost the Dons the three points.
Jackson wasn’t wrong but it is difficult to hear them without thinking, well, yes, but you are in charge of all those things. As a manager, ensuring your players have some vague idea about what they’re doing strikes me as a key part of the job.
The messenger, then, is as important as the message. Which is why both Liz Truss and Andrew Bailey are still struggling to be heard.
For all the hilarity evident on social media yesterday, there wasn’t much to disagree with in Liz Truss’ speech.
Our economic orthodoxy does focus on spreading wealth, not creating it. The civil service is no bastion of free-market thinking. Our politics is bereft of big ideas, and supply-side reform is sorely lacking. But Truss cannot admit she handled her attempt to fix these things badly, and set her cause back by – at best – years.
Andrew Bailey, similarly, cannot cut through. His complacent approach at the start of the inflationary cycle, the disastrous volte-face on rate hikes way back in 2021, and his tin-eared comments on pay and wages have left him regarded by many as a busted flush.
Whether it’s fair or not, champions of the free market in the Tory party – and of competence in the Bank of England – may need to find new voices as much as they need new things to say.
CYBER WARRIOR / CYBER WORRIERS
The insurance industry is a source of endless fascination to me, largely because without it the wheels of commerce simply cannot turn. As a result, the sector – and the London market – can be a good early warning system for the business issues that are about to go mainstream. So it feels a good time to mention that everytime I speak to anybody in the industry at the moment, each one of them tells me it’s insuring against cyber threats that’s keeping them up at night.
One of the regular criticisms of London media is that we don’t pay adequate attention to things happening outside of the capital. Not so, here, of course, so here is my initial analysis of the Welsh government’s attempt to expand the size of the Senedd to 96 assembly members at a cost of £18m: crackers. The Senedd doesn’t need more bodies – it needs more effective policymakers who can turn around the country’s failing public services.
Major events are difficult things to pull off, and the French certainly made une grosse bourde of the opening week of the Rugby World Cup, with fans unable to get into stadiums, botched anthems and (worst of all) concession vendors running out of beer. A weekend later, however, and all the reports coming in are highly positive. Credit where it’s due for a swift rethink.
STORYTIME WITH STORYVILLE
Battling through endless options on the streaming platforms has left my partner and I occasionally struck by the paralysis of choice. So my new tactic is to pick one or two platforms and exhaust them before daring to venture elsewhere – and that’s what’s led me to the Storyville archive on BBC iplayer. It’s a veritable treasure trove of high-end, well-produced, thought-provoking documentaries, exactly the sort of thing Auntie should be doing instead of nonsense, social media-friendly light entertainment. I can’t recommend it highly enough.